[r57] Rep. Eberhart Files Bill to Toughen Immigration Law (1/15/2008)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Start Date: 1/15/2008 All Day
End Date: 1/15/2008
(STATEHOUSE) Jan. 15, 2008 - State Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) this week filed a comprehensive bill to combat illegal immigration. Under the bill, Indiana would take a stricter stance on deporting illegal immigrants, increase penalties for illegal immigrants fraudulently receiving state benefits and require employers to verify the legal status of employees.

"Illegal immigration is a problem in the United States," said Rep. Eberhart. "Although this is a federal issue, because of our government's inaction, the state governments are left to deal with it. I propose strengthening our laws to combat the flood of illegal immigrants across our borders. It is estimated that there are 50,000 illegal Hispanic immigrants in Indiana alone, which doesn't include all of the illegal immigrants of other descent."

Rep. Eberhart's bill would require the state police to work with the federal government, increasing the state's ability to combat illegal immigration in Indiana. It would also require the state police to apply for federal grants to help fund enforcement action against illegal immigrants.

Using fake identification, illegal immigrants are receiving state benefits like welfare and Medicaid. This bill would require state agencies to verify the status of an individual applying for benefits using the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program. The SAVE Program enables federal, state, and local government agencies and licensing bureaus to obtain immigration status information they need in order to determine a non-citizen applicant's eligibility for many public benefits.

Under the bill, a person fraudulently applying for benefits would commit a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Finally, the legislation would require employers to comply with federal laws regarding verification of employment and keep on file verification forms for all employees.

"Being a businessman, I understand the burden that bureaucratic red tape can have on small business," said Rep. Eberhart. "This bill does not require much of an employer; only that they keep on file verification of the status of their employees."

Rep. Eberhart serves House District 57, which includes most of Shelby County and the eastern portion of Bartholomew County. You may contact Rep. Sean Eberhart by mail at 200 W. Washington St., Statehouse Room 401-4, Indianapolis, IN 46204; by telephone at 1-800-382-9841; or by e-mail at h57@in.gov.